Carrie Benn, Fundraising and Development Officer
I was a stranger and you invited me in. (Matthew 25:35)
As for many charitable organisations, 2020 has been a time of change and challenge for Spirasi – The National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture in Ireland. As we move to the end of a tumultuous year, the season of Advent gives us a chance to reflect on what we’ve achieved and the tasks that lie ahead. The word ‘Advent’ signifies the “arrival of a notable person or thing”; at Spirasi, we feel that way about every one of our clients – providing them a chance for a future without fear.
The pandemic signalled a challenge to our services in every way: our once-busy office and therapy rooms in Spiritan House now lay quiet; staff are accustomed to seeing each other as rectangles on screens, constantly worrying for our clients in Direct Provision centres. Our fundraising plans have been considerably interrupted. However, through strong leadership, team spirit and a commitment to victims of torture, we have overcome these obstacles as best we can. All medical appointments and therapy sessions are now online or by phone. We’ve become used to the new commute to our kitchen tables and have adjusted our fundraising plans. What we cannot undo is the hurt suffered by those brave men, women and children who use our services; we just hope that we can ease their burdens.
Set up in 1999 by the Spiritans in response to the rapidly changing migration situation in Ireland, Spirasi (The Spiritan Asylum Services Initiative) has since that time provided rehabilitation, therapy and counselling, as well as a friendly welcome and support to over 5000 victims of torture. We are grateful for the ongoing support – financial and other – and the interest in our work. Caring for those in need is evidence of a faith that changes lives. Our Text Giving campaign has begun and we look forward to building positive relationships and supporting Global Citizenship work within Spiritan schools. If you’d like to assist a survivor building a new life in Ireland, please come and see us at www.spirasi.ie or text the word FUTURE to 50300 to donate €4 to our Future Not Fear campaign.+